Innovation –M-Pesa remains the most thought-out and outstanding innovation so far in the country now serving almost every part of the world.
Though it is hard to believe that the mobile money transfer idea was started in Kenya, Nyagaka Anyona, a little-known student at Jomo Kenyatta University, claimed ownership and was widely discussed as the true owner of the idea.
Other nationals also claimed to have mooted the idea that has since morphed into a monster and remained iconic not only in Kenya but across the globe.
M-Pesa, which was developed in 2000, would then be bought by a local giant telco – Vodafone – which described the idea as ‘life-changing’.
On completion of concept tests with the then Safaricom Chief Executive Officer CEO Michael Joseph, the inventor (s) would be awarded full credits for a project well-done.
In the year 2021, the inventor(s) were given a copyright certificate from Safaricom Board of Directors BoD; an indication that no one else could come and claim ownership later on.
Though, at some point, M-Pesa’s other architects Paul Makin and co-worker Nick Hughes both tried to claim ownership of the concept, Anyona stated that he doesn’t know anything about the Britains.
On August 2, 2018, Who Owns Kenya ran a story in which it linked the whole idea to the British nationals even as most Kenyans would want to believe that M-Pesa is a homegrown concept.
The publication wrote that, If we are to do away with Nyagaka’s version, Nick Hughes and Paul Makin remains the true owners. It was Hughes who pitched the concept to Vodafone bigwigs who were impressed by the novel idea and gave £1 million funding to match a similar amount given by the British Government’s Department for International Development to conceptualize the idea.
“Success has a thousand fathers. I know we piloted this and turned it into a business plan and eventually into M-Pesa. Today, I hear people I have never heard of put claim on this product.” Hughes told a financial outlet.
It is not very clear how much was actually paid to the inventor(s) but word has it that he was compensated as per the market standards with other continuous benefits which he still enjoys todate.
Today, the billion-dollar mobile financial platform is used by millions of citizens – both adults to children – where they send and receive money quickly.
The money service has spread its tentacles to many parts of the world including the neighbouring Tanzania, Uganda, Ruanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria etc.
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